Hornets Outlast Black Knights in Overtime Thriller
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by Nolan Michael
Hornets run for over 300 yards in OT win
LAWRENCEVILLE—The Hornets earned their first victory of the 2017 season on Friday as they defeated the Central Gwinnett Black Knights in a nail biter in Lawrenceville. Coming off a bye week, the Hornets were anxious to get out on the field and play. The win was huge for Roswell as they had their backs against the wall from the start.
Roswell fell behind early as Central Gwinnett quarterback Jaren Williams completed a 40-yard touchdown reception to receiver Khmari Thompson (1). On the Hornets’ next drive, Central Gwinnett linebacker Joe Garcia recovered a fumble near the goal line and scored to put the Black Knights ahead 14-0 with 3:54 left in the first quarter.
Turnovers played a huge part in this game and throughout the first half. Central Gwinnett was the beneficiary as they had forced three first half turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown, along with two interceptions by cornerback Tyan Milton. Despite the mishaps, Roswell hung in the game as they put together an eight-play, 62-yard drive ending with a 19-yard run on fourth and two courtesy of junior running back Kamonty Jett to cut the lead to 14-7.
With 8:18 to play in the third quarter, the Hornet defense came up big with a fumble recovery at Central Gwinnett’s own three-yard line after a fumbled snap by Jaren Williams. Roswell took advantage of the miscue as they scored on the very next play on a three-yard run by Jett, evening the score at 14. From this point on, Roswell began looking like the better team. Only 49 seconds later, Hornet senior quarterback Cordell Littlejohn put his team up 21-14 with a 63-yard touchdown run.
The score would stay the same until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter. With 1:43 remaining, Jaren Williams connected with receiver Jallah Zeze for a 28-yard touchdown to tie the game at 21.
Roswell fans held their breath as Central Gwinnett forced a three and out and got the ball back with 44 seconds left in regulation but Roswell’s defense held their own, not allowing the Black Knights to score and forcing overtime for the second consecutive week.
In overtime, the Black Knights won the toss and elected to receive the ball first. The Hornet defense came up clutch once again as they swarmed Jaren Williams forcing him to throw a costly interception caught by junior cornerback Joshua Reid. Now, all the Hornets needed to do was score a field goal and the game was theirs. They got even more as Jett bolted off for his third and most important touchdown to seal the deal for Roswell.
The Hornets will swarm down to south Georgia this Friday as they take on the Colquitt Packers at 8 p.m. in a rematch of the 2015 state championship game. The Hornets defeated the Packers 34-3 last year at Ray Manus Stadium.